Cassadee Pope was born on August 28, 1989 in Palm Beach, Florida. She was the lead vocalist for the pop/rock band Hey Monday. They put out one studio album and three EP’s and toured with the likes of FallOut Boy. Cassadee released her debut self-titled solo EP in May 2012. That same year, she won Season 3 of NBC’s ‘The Voice’ under the direction of her coach Blake Shelton. In January 2013 she signed with Republic Nashville, an imprint of Big Machine Records. She released her debut album FRAME BY FRAME on October 8, 2013. It peaked at No 1 on the U.S. country charts and No 16 in Canada.
The album opens with ‘Good Times’ penned by Nathan Chapman, Sarah Buxton, and Blair Daly. Chapman has worked with the likes of Taylor Swift and Point of Grace. This song is upbeat country and is all about having fun: “It’s time to sing about the good times/C’mon lets rock it ‘til the sun shines/Now that you got it, don’t you waste it/Ah, can’t you feel it?/Can’t you taste it?/Oh yeah, I really wanna put a smile on your lips/Like an 8th grade kiss/Put a swing in your hips, come on move like this/And sing about the good times, good times, yeah”. ‘Champagne’ is a pulsating song that finds Cassadee intoxicated with infatuation: “Yeah, you’re my champagne/Baby you go straight to my head/Just one taste/I’m about as high as I can get/Words trippin’, hearts skippin’/One look and my world’s spinning out/You’re my champagne (2X)”.
The album’s wonderful debut single, ‘Wasting All These Tears’, came out May 31, 2013. It was penned by Caitlyn Smith and Rollie Gaalswyk and debuted at No 7 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It sold 125, 000 copies during the first week and was Cassadee’s first song to reach Gold status. This powerful country ballad is a song of heartbreak: “You said you don’t want me anymore/And you left me/Standing on a corner cryin’/Feeling like a fool for trying/I don’t even remember why I’m/Wasting all these tears on you/I wish I could erase our memory/Cause you didn’t give a damn about me/Oh, finally I’m through/Wasting all these tears on you/These tears on you”. ‘I Wish I Could Break Your Heart’ is a particularly strong song that begins with these words of revenge: “I wish I could break your heart/I wish I could bring you down/Just for a second teach you a lesson/About bein’ alone in the dark/I wish I could make you cry/So hard you can barely breathe/Maybe you just might know what it feels like/To be me”.
Cassadee, Blair Daly, and Troy Verges wrote ‘Everybody Sings’. It finds Pope in party mode: “We’re dancing like fools/With the music blasting/Trying not to spill the drinks/In our glasses/No, we’re not goin’ home/’Til the taps run dry/We’re all shining in our own spotlight/Singing every line/It feels so right”. ‘You Hear a Song’ is a serious ballad that speaks of how, often our love interest can see the positive in us and life, when we just can’t: “A one note symphony/Baby come on and sing it back to me/I see a mess in the mirror, you see the girl of your dreams/I see the dark clouds rollin’ in/You see the sky I can’t see/I hear this melody coming out all wrong/It sounds like the chaos I hear in my head all night long/You hear a song (3X)”.
‘This Car’ was written by Pope, David Hodges, and Gordie Sampson. It is contemporary country in style and is not the first song in music history to link a mode of transportation with a love relationship: “5 years in the blink of an eye/Still smiling cause you’re next to me/We fought, made up, got lost, made love in the back seat/So many stories in this steel and glass/Yeah, there’s no wonder why we fell so fast/From the first time you opened the door/Well, it felt like the beginning of something more. ‘One Song Away’ was composed by Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges, Aaron Pearce, and Mike Green. Lindsey has worked with artists such as Faith Hill, Shakira, and Bon Jovi. Here we have a well executed contemporary country ballad that finds Cassadee lonesome: “Late at night/Can’t go to sleep/It’s just me and the radio/Every single melody/Is wrecking me/And I know I’m getting close/To losing all control and picking up the phone/I’m one song away from/Breaking down and calling you up/And each one that plays is telling me that I’m still in love”.
Max Martin, Shellback, and Savan Kotecha wrote ‘Easier to Lie’. It has Cassadee thinking out loud after being unfaithful: “You know that I’ve been cryin’/So you ask what’s goin’ on/Your arm’s around my shoulder/You’ve got no clue what I’ve done/Cause you don’t see the guilt in me/And that just makes it worse/Yeah, that just makes it worse”. The next song is a pretty one. Many females will be able to relate to ‘11’ and the tale it tells: “I was a little too young and a little too dumb/To ever think the day would come/When Dad would drive away and take his love with him/So I grew up fast in a whole new world/Waved goodbye to that little girl/I can see her now/Innocent and seven/I wish I had never turned 11”. ‘Proved You Wrong’ has a bouncy pop sound and finds Cassadee emotionally strong and determined: “It’s easy letting go of us/Said I didn’t even have the guts/Yet here I am packing up/I’m taking my heart back ‘cause I’ve had enough.../Hey...I’m done with you and all the lies you made/You were such a mistake”.
The deluxe edition of FRAME BY FRAME includes four additional tracks. Pope, Liz Rose, and Busbee penned the first one. Many couples who have been together for ages will be envious of the passion expressed in ‘Edge of a Thunderstorm’. Witness these lyrics: “I’ll tell you right now, I never felt like this/The touch of your hand, the thought of your kiss/Yeah, yeah, yeah/It’s a powerful thing washing over me/I’m reminding myself, don’t forget to breathe/Yeah, yeah, yeah/So right, the way you look at me/Feels like something’s calling/Maybe I’m gonna get swept away/I’ll worry ‘bout that some sunny day/Cause I can’t wait to taste that rain, whoah”. ‘Cinematic’ is a cheerful country song. It contains frisky lyrics I could hear Britney Spears singing: “You’re so cinematic, your touch I got to have it/Every scene you’re making me believe/It doesn’t have to be on the other movie screen/Red hot, non-stop, we got cinematic love, cinematic love/Rated R in our secret spot, hoping we don’t get busted by the cops/Heating up baby, ready or not/I’ve been waiting all this time for the fairy tale to come alive”. The last two tracks are decent acoustic takes on ‘Good Times’ and ‘Wasting All These Tears’.
Instrumentalists used on the album include Jerry McPherson, Dann Huff, Tom Bukovac, and Jimmie Sloas. Instruments used include: guitars, ganjo, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, fiddle, B3 organ, and accordion. Fans of Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert will love the modern country songs on this record. Pope’s vocals remind me a lot of earlier era Miley Cyrus on songs such as ‘Party in the U.S.A.’ and ‘The Driveway’. This album gives us an up close look at the heart of Cassadee. There is no doubt that she is quite talented and I look forward to hearing her follow-up release. I’m rating FRAME BY FRAME-DELUXE EDITION 90%. For more info visit: www.cassadeepope.com and www.republicnashville.com.